On Monday, Congressman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), chair of the Congressional Radical Council, sent a Letter to President Biden on behalf of 30 Liberal Democrats urged the administration to consider a “proactive diplomatic push, redouble efforts to find a realistic framework for a ceasefire” in Ukraine.
But on Tuesday, facing backlash, she reversed course and blamed her staff for releasing the letter “without checking.”
In a plea for Biden, the caucus wrote, “We agree with the Administration’s position that the United States is not the place to pressure the Ukrainian government for sovereign decisions, and with the principle that you have stated that there is nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine”. “The letter said. “But as legislators responsible for spending tens of billions of American taxpayer dollars on military support in the conflict, we believe that such involvement in this war is just as important. creates a responsibility for the United States to seriously explore all possible avenues, including engaging directly with Russia. , in order to minimize harm and assist Ukraine in achieving a peaceful resolution”.
The opposite, not entirely unpredictable, is immediate.
Republican leaders have publicly stated that they plan to reconsider backing Ukraine’s military aid if they are re-elected to Congress in the coming months. Meanwhile, experts argue that Russian troops in Ukraine have committed war crimes under international law and that allowing the Kremlin to make any concessions, especially allowing it to keep parts of Crimea it annexed. illegally entered, would be an inappropriate reward for an outlaw regime.
“There is moral and strategic danger in sitting down with Putin too soon,” said Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) tweeted in response. “It risks legitimizing his crimes and handing over parts of Ukraine to Russia in a deal that Putin won’t even honor. Sometimes, a bully has to be shown the limits of his or her power before diplomacy can work.”
Representative Jake Auchincloss, a Massachusetts Democrat who did not sign the letter, tweeted, “This letter is an olive branch addressed to a war criminal who is losing battle. Ukraine is marching. Congress should stand firmly behind @JoeBidens’ effective strategy, including being tighter — not weaker! — Sanctions”.
Jayapal’s first reaction to the backlash made a public statement “Reaffirming support” for Ukraine and “clarifying” her previous diplomatic appeal.
“Let me be clear: we are united as Democrats in our unequivocal commitment to support Ukraine in its fight for democracy and freedom in the face of Russia’s illegitimate and outrageous aggression, and nothing in the letter favors a change in that support,” Jayapal said.
On Tuesday afternoon, Jayapal completed 180 and withdrew the entire letter on Monday. She blamed the unidentified employee, claiming that the person had been kicked off the field by mistake.
Japayal said: “The letter was drafted a few months ago, but unfortunately was released by staff without proofreading. “As the Chairman of the Caucus, I accept responsibility for this. Because of the timing, our message is being perceived by some as tantamount to a recent statement by Republican Leader McCarthy threatening to end aid to Ukraine if the Republicans take over. “
Jayapal said in his retraction that “the closeness of these statements creates the unfortunate appearance that the Democrats, who have strongly and unanimously supported and voted for every package of military assistance , strategically and economically for the Ukrainian people, somehow aligns with Republicans looking to pull American support for President Zelensky and Ukrainian forces. “
“The White House has received the letter, and members of the administration certainly appreciate the sentiment these members of Congress expressed,” said the National Security Council’s strategic communications coordinator. John Kirby told CNN on Monday.
However, he cautioned, “When you see and you hear his rhetoric, and you see other things – it’s atrocities, war crimes, airstrikes on facilities. civil infrastructure that the Russians are working on – clearly Mr. Putin is not in the mood to negotiate.